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Israel Police investigating Barak, Golan for incitement

Former prime minister Ehud Barak blasts the move as "attempted political intimidation."

Former prime minister Ehud Barak and retired Maj. Gen. Yair Golan attend a press conference in Tel Aviv on June 26, 2019. Photo by Flash90.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak and retired Maj. Gen. Yair Golan attend a press conference in Tel Aviv on June 26, 2019. Photo by Flash90.

Israeli police are investigating recent calls by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and former IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan for civil unrest to oppose the coalition’s judicial reform initiative.

The unit to combat terrorism on the internet, which is under the authority of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, will examine the statements and forward the results of the initial investigation to the prosecutor’s office, which will decide whether to launch a criminal investigation.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Golan, a former Knesset member and deputy economy minister for the far-left Meretz Party, drew criticism from the ruling coalition on Tuesday after calling for a “nonviolent uprising” against the government over its judicial reform push.

“In the face of the attempts to destroy democracy, we will mount an unequivocal civil resistance, and if we have to have a large-scale and nonviolent uprising, that is what we will do,” Golan told Kan News.

He also said that demonstrators will have “no choice but to break the law.”

The Likud Party slammed Golan’s comments as “incitement to rebellion” and called for him to be investigated.

“Those who violate the law and call to break the law must pay a price. Otherwise the rule of law has no meaning,” the party said.

Barak, another leading voice against the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform program, urged demonstrators to revolt in a speech in Haifa earlier this month.

Barak told protesters to engage in “civil disobedience, or in more precise language, nonviolent civil disobedience.”

In a statement responding to the incitement investigation, Barak said, “This is not a suspicion of rebellion, it is an attempt at political intimidation of the poor variety used in rotten regimes.”

He added that it was an “attempt to scare Yair, me and you. So I have news for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir: we are not afraid of anyone or anything.”

Former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon on Wednesday morning backed up Barak and Golan’s calls to break the law, saying on 103FM: “If those who are responsible for the law enacted illegal laws—it is our duty not to obey.”

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